Making Claims Against Professionals
From time to time we may find that we need expert professional advice, for example, legal advice from a solicitor or barrister, tax advice from an accountant or construction advice from an architect or builder. The professional becomes a trusted adviser, relied upon to act in our best interests.
We turn to such professionals, of course, because they are well trained and regulated and we expect high standards of service from them. We can usually be confident in the level of service. However, whatever their level of training, professionals are only human and to be human is to make mistakes. In the majority of cases, a mistake can be easily fixed and there will be no adverse consequences.
Unfortunately, some mistakes can prove to be difficult, and costly, to fix. Take this example:
A solicitor is instructed to act in a personal injury claim after the client was injured in a car accident. The law says that the client must start court proceedings within three years of the accident. The solicitor forgets to put the date in their diary. The three-year deadline is missed. The solicitor may well have been negligent.
What does the client then do? It could be that the mistake can be fixed, with an application to the court asking a judge to agree to extend time. This would cost money, and might not be successful if the judge cannot be convinced – each case is different and it would depend on what exactly happened. The solicitor will no doubt be mortified that they made such a mistake.
If the claim cannot proceed, the client would have lost the chance to bring a claim for compensation for their injuries due to the solicitor’s negligence. The client can then bring a claim against the solicitor for the loss of chance, arguing that if the solicitor had not missed the court deadline, they would have been successful in the claim and would have received compensation for the injuries they suffered.
It is not always straightforward to make such a claim. The solicitor who was previously enthusiastic about the claim may well argue that it was not such a good claim after all, and that the client has in fact not suffered any loss worth pursuing. The solicitor’s insurer will not want to be seen as an easy target.
If your lawyer makes a mistake, they should alert you and advise you to take independent legal advice. Because of the wide range of services we provide, GA may be able to take over your case in order to try to fix the mistake and, if that is not successful, we can then advise you about making a claim for professional negligence against the lawyer.
At GA Solicitors, we have long experience of making claims against all manner of professionals, including those working in the law, accountancy and construction industry. Dispute Resolution Solicitor, Matthew Ellis is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and would be happy to discuss any concerns you may have. We may even be able to act under a no win, no fee agreement in certain cases.
You can contact Matthew for a no-obligation discussion, by emailing, matthew.ellis@GAsolicitors.com or call 01752 203500.